Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Past catches up with ‘reformed’ sex pest
10:30am Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
A PENSIONER who sexually abused four young girls over two decades has been jailed for six years.
Peter Compton molested the children, one of whom was a friend of the family and another two who were babysitters, in the 70s and 80s.
The 67-year-old groped the children, the youngest being just six or seven years old, when they visited his family home in Highworth.
He even molested one of the children when she called round to the house to see someone else, only stopping when his son arrived home.
Despite hearing a character reference from a Methodist clergyman, who told the court he felt his parishioner presented no risk to children, a judge said jail was the only option.
Rev David Gray, of Stratton Methodist Church, said Compton had been helping out at their community kitchen alongside children as young as ten.
He said the church had been offering support to the parishioner telling the court: “I have seen no hint of Mr Compton showing sexual activity to these young women.
“He is very caring and very sympathetic. A very gentle man is how he comes across. I honestly don't consider him a risk.”
Compton, who still denies any wrongdoing despite the jury’s findings, abused the youngsters between 1973 and 1994.
He was charged with a 14 offences, including rape and threats to kill, and after a trial was found guilty of seven counts of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.
Jeannie Mackie, defending, said her client was now a completely different man to the one at the time of the offences.
She criticised the pre-sentence report for saying he could present a further risk to children, pointing out there had been no accusation of anything for 20 years.
Since his arrest he had been living in a Salvation Army hostel where he had got on well with other residents and staff, she said.
She said that each offence, on its own, was at the lower level of seriousness which could allow a suspended sentence to be passed.
Jailing him, judge Euan Ambrose told Compton there was no doubt the offences were so serious only a custodial sentence could be justified.
He said: “It is clear the offences against these four girl has had a profound and long standing affect upon them. You get no credit for plea having had a trial.
“These girls, now grown women, had to give evidence and their statements show just how distressing that turned out to be. You still deny the allegations.
“I am told I am sentencing today somebody who is very different to the person who committed the offences 20 years ago. That may well be the case.
“This is a case in which your past and your past behaviour has caught up with you and I am sentencing you for offences you committed against young girls, albeit many years ago.
“Good character of course mitigates your sentence but it is not uncommon in offences of this type for offenders to have good character and to have people that think highly of them.
“I can’t look at each offence in isolation when looking at the overall sentence that I must impose.”
He told him he must register as a sex offender indefinitely and he would also be barred from working with children.